After careful consideration among many contenders, the Student Appeal Centre of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa awards the Iron Fist for the most unjust University of Ottawa Administrator to Julie Beauchamp, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Telfer School of Management. Ms. Beauchamp’s actions meet the criteria for the Iron Fist award which include ruthlessness, contempt for student rights, and overall lack of fairness in decision making.
Ms. Beauchamp’s nomination for the award comes after the Student Appeal Centre was called to represent students she had summoned to a disciplinary hearing. She indicated that the hearing was motivated by security reports (from Protection Services) filed following a non-academic incident that had occurred on campus a month earlier. Ms. Beauchamp charged that the alleged incident was a “grave violation of the ‘Telfer Code of Conduct’.”
The Student Appeal Centre, on behalf of the students, asked Ms. Beauchamp to provide the students with a copy of the documentation being used against them, namely the Protection Services security reports. In response, Ms. Beauchamp wrote, “I do not have the protection reports.” As a result, the meetings went ahead even though the students had not been informed of the content of any evidence that was being used against them. Following these meetings, and without the students being given any further opportunity to be heard, the Telfer School of Management imposed numerous disciplinary sanctions, going as far as suspension from school for one year.
Ms. Beauchamp’s involvement in imposing these draconian sanctions is even more troubling considering that a “Telfer Code of Conduct” does not exist. The closest such thing is a vague statement on the School’s website to the effect that its members are guided by six values whose first letters spell out the word T-E-L-F-E-R.
A request under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FIPPA) was subsequently filed by the students. The documents obtained via FIPPA show, contrary to Ms. Beauchamp’s written statements, that Protections Services had in fact forwarded her a copy of the security reports on September 7, 2013, a full 28 days before the students asked for a copy.
By refusing to provide the students with the evidence used against them in disciplinary hearings, Ms. Beauchamp breached the student’s most fundamental rights to natural justice. It is self-evident that a person cannot fully and reasonably defend him- or herself without knowing the charges against him or her.
Having now seen the Security Reports, the SAC can confirm that the allegations against the students revolve around actions that are entirely non-academic in nature, and consist solely of having been impolite to campus protection officers. Thus, the disciplinary penalties were made without legitimate jurisdiction, and were grossly disproportionate to the alleged actions.
In summary, Julie Beauchamp breached the students’ rights to natural justice by denying them the evidence used against them prior to their defence, used a non-existent “Telfer Code of Conduct” to impose severe academic sanctions in response to a non-academic incident, and apparently lied to the students about which evidence was in her possession in order to circumvent due process. For these reasons, we announce Julie Beauchamp as the winner of the 2013 Iron Fist.